2 men killed in Louisiana salt mine collapse identified

Mid-South

NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) — The bodies of two miners who died in a salt mine collapse in Louisiana have been identified, according to Iberia Parish officials.

Lance Begnaud Jr., 27, and Rene Romero Jr., 41, of New Iberia, were killed when the roof of the Cargill’s Avery Island Salt Mine collapsed Monday night.

A total of 18 miners were inside the salt mine on Monday; 16 of those employees escaped without injuries.

Begnaud’s wife shared the following via Facebook Tuesday night:

I just want to thank everyone for all the love, support, comfort and prayers at this time! As we are torn into pieces and our hearts are shattered and lost for words, we are trying to keep the faith within us! My dear husband will be missed so so so very much by everyone! Again, thank you to everyone!

ALEXANDRA BEGNAUD

Friends told NewsNation afiiliate KLFY Lance married the love of his life just over a year ago.

Lance Begnaud II. Submitted photo, via NewsNation affiliate KLFY

Cargill released the following statement Wednesday morning:

“On Tuesday evening, the rescue team recovered the second of the two missing miners who was also fatally injured in the accident at our Avery Island mine. Our hearts are broken for our colleagues and their families. To respect their privacy, we will not be sharing further details about the employees at this time.

We continue to offer both families support and extend our deepest condolences for their loss.  We care about our teammates and have professional grief counselors on site at our facility who will be available to our team as needed. The safety and well-being of our colleagues is our top priority. We are grieving with the community as we face this loss together.

As rescue efforts have concluded, we now focus on completing our investigation in coordination with the Mine Health and Safety Administration to better understand what caused the accident. We are committed to learning from this tragedy and remain unwavering in our dedication to safe operations.”

A spokesperson for Cargill says they are still investigating the cause of the roof collapse.

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